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Kentucky House passes bill to allow early in-person voting

February 26, 2021 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky House on Friday wrapped up its quick work on legislation that would make early voting a permanent feature in the state’s elections.

The bill, introduced this week, passed the House on a 93-4 vote, sending it to the Senate. It would allow three days of no-excuse, early in-person voting — including a Saturday — ahead of Election Day.

Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams said he hopes the strong bipartisan support in the House will add to the bill’s momentum when it reaches the Senate. Adams describes it as the state’s most significant election-reform legislation in nearly three decades.

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Another key part of the bill would allow counties to establish vote centers, where any voter in the county may vote regardless of precinct.

The measure continues some special features allowed in last year’s election because of the COVID-19 pandemic — most notably the early in-person voting.

Last year, pandemic-related rules for Kentucky’s general election included multiple weeks of early in-person voting to prevent a crush of Election Day voting.

Without new legislation, Kentucky’s election laws will revert to the pre-pandemic rules.

But the House-passed bill wouldn’t continue a temporary, pandemic-related accommodation that allowed widespread mail-in absentee balloting in the 2020 election.

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The legislation is House Bill 574.